Dora Obwaka has two pictures that represent two extreme facets of her life just in a span of less than 10 years.
She is dreadlocked, darker, frail and appears tipsy on her first picture which she took in 2016 while still battling drug addiction and struggling to rise from the chains of drinking and smoking slavery.
But in her most recent picture, she is glowy, smiley, lighter and with sparkling hairstyle depicting a transformation achieved in an urban young woman.
“It happened and God is in the business of bringing beauty from ashes,” she says of her transformation.
In her interview with KTN News anchor Grace Kuria, in the talk show ‘Beyond the Scars’, Obwaka narrated her gloomy encounters with drug addiction and toxic relationships which she said could have ended her life, had her family not intervened.
“Sometimes it gets to a point where you are the slave and the drug is the master,” she says while reminiscing her fight with drug addiction.
It is a battle she won recently and in December 2019 she earned a new name, Jesus Girl. This is a tag she is known with especially by those who have interest tales of overcoming drug addiction.
She says her name is a reflection of the values she now believes in after completing her rehabilitation and burying her past encounters with drugs.
Obwaka took viewers to the memory path of how her drug addiction came into existence, an experience which nearly dimmed her dreams.
At 17 years and just fresh from High School, she met her 22-year-old boyfriend ending her quest to be in a romantic relationship.
“I was looking for love… I was validation,” she says.
She says she came from family of mixed values where her father was battling alcoholism but her mother was a reverend, a strict Christian.
She was soon introduced to smoking weed and drinking. Obwaka says she found solace in her boyfriend and new clique of friends who were regular alcoholics and smokers who made her feel at ‘home.’
She said: “They welcomed me with open arms. I felt acceptance with them and I felt like it was a family. Guys would cheer…’go… go… go’ and I felt like I found my space.”
That she relied on her parents to give her pocket money meant that she had to rely on an external source to finance her thirst for alcohol and weed. This is where she says her boyfriend, who had money and was an adept in the trade came in handy.
“He was already at a level where he had a steady income and was already taking drugs regularly while I was fresh on the scene,” she says.
She says that the relationship ran into a toxic mode. It was like they were mutually existing for drugs and swimming to destruction together.
When she came to her senses, she developed the urge to drop the relationship but such a push remained a pipe dream.
It was a relationship which played a role in her relapse as she could go back to smoking and drinking even after staying sobre for days. This happened at the sight of seeing her partner blowing the smoke from marijuana and sipping the drinks.
“I knew he was bad for me and I knew he was bad for me…I wasn’t willing to part with a relationship.”
When she turned 18, Obwaka says she developed a sense of maturity but to the detriment of her behaviour. Being 18 and into the minimum age for drinking meant that her family could not question her habits.
She says she felt like it was an entitlement to her by law to drink.
“When I turned 18 years, I knew my rights because I felt like I’m now at the right age,” she remembers.
As she sunk into drinking and puffing marijuana at the stroke of every other day, she was arming herself with excuses to justify her habits, especially the drinking.
She recalls how she would argue that ‘even Jesus Christ created water into wine’ so there is no big deal. She also says that she almost became a pro-marijuana activist after being immersed into smoking.
She was enrolled for her first rehab at 19 years but vowed to only drop marijuana but continue with alcohol. Her problems would mount even further when she joined Daystar University-a Christian institution that her parents, especially her mother, though would reshape her into former self.
But she was now graduating from marijuana to heroin, plunging into more problems.
“I met a friend told me that there is something you can put in your weed and it will be 10 times stronger they used to call it “snaggy.” When I smoked it, I felt sick and little bit of euphoria,” she says of her first encounter with heroin.
The 25-year old says her attempts to succeed in rehabilitation were jeopardised by the introduction to heroin. She could not operate without it.
But for the determination of her parents to pull her up from the mess, in November 2018, she enrolled at Team Challenge, a faith-based rehabilitation facility.
A series of thoughts crisscrossed her. At 24 years by then. She wondered what her life had become.
“Do I want my mum to bury me at the age of 24? At 24 is when my mum married my dad,” she asked
Her determination to leave the drug addiction club succeeded after she broke up with her boyfriend, cut off links with influencing friendships.
All these, she says, came at an expense as withdrawal symptoms came battering her. She says she fell ill frequently with complaints such as runny stomach, chills, fever, and vomiting. But all these she says was the beginning of end of her battles with drugs, as she blossomed into a new personality.
She credits her family for support during the recovery path.
She says: “I’m so happy that I got people who are rooted in God.”
“There is a thin line in loving someone in addiction and loving them. They had their boundaries on what they would tolerate.”
After closing her grim life encounter to open a new page, she drops a parting shot to parents and those vulnerable to drugs.
“There are drugs in church and Christian universities,” she warns, as she emphasises on being cautious.
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